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Personal Use DVD Ripping - Legal or Illegal?


Finally, RealNetworks loses its RealDVD case. This March 3th, 2010, U.S. District Judge has issued a permanent injunction that bars RealNetworks from selling RealDVD, the DVD-copying software that Hollywood claimed in the Content Scramble System (CSS) license agreement violated and made illegal permanent copies of copy-protected DVDs. Well, I think that's really bad news for consumers. What that means is that if you want to create a digital back-up of your movies, you have to pay for that a second time on iTunes. So is totally illegal for personal-use DVD ripping/copying?


First Look at the People's Comments

  • It would be nice if people would become informed about the DMCA and send a clear message to the MPAA and others of what we want to be able to do with our movies and music. No I do not advocate picracy, however It would be nice if I could legally make backup copies of my dvds and music with no fear of a huge lawsuit.

  • Who protecting the Customer from poor DVD Quality that scratches after 10 plays. Now Blue Ray DVD'S can be sold for $49.95 each Next their coming after yard sale DVD'S . It little outer limits sounding but true. Action speak louder than words.

  • With freedom comes responsibility. If you want the freedom to back up a DVD, then you have the responsibility to make sure you don't share copies with anyone else. Ever. Many people have been irresponsible, and have ruined it for the rest of us. The ruling is correct.

  • The main problem is people would for the most part use this to copy rented DVD's I personally think DVD rentals should have their own protection mechanisms different from DVD's that are sold to consumers.

  • Those wanting to pirate discs would use a host of elicit ripping programs available for free or cheap on the internet.

Legality Difference Between Different Countries

Legality depends on the country you live in, the laws will be different for every country. I know that in Canada and France you are safe, USA and UK you are not. The Canadian courts have ruled that backup copies for personal use are legal, but you are only allowed to use one copy of the item at a time.


  • In United States, it is legal for an individual in the United States to make a copy of media he/she owns for his/her own personal use. Fair Use grants you the right to make a backup copy of your media for your own personal use. But in the case where media contents are protected using some effective copy protection scheme, the Digital Millennium Copyright Act makes it illegal to circumvent that copy protection scheme. This law makes it illegal to rip most commercial DVDs as they are typically protected by CSS encryption.

  • In United Kingdom, making a private copy of copyrighted media without the copyright owner's consent is illegal as of April 2009: this includes ripping music from a CD to a computer or digital music player. The UK government has made proposals to allow people to make copies of music for personal use.

  • In Australia, copies of any legally purchased music may be made by its owner, as long as it is not distributed to others and its use remains personal.

  • In Spain and Sweden, anyone is allowed to make a private copy of a copyrighted material for oneself and the source copy does not even have to be legal. Making copies for other people, however, is forbidden if done for profit.

It's Time to Legalize Personal-Use DVD Copying/Ripping

I remember In 2006, film professors applied for DMCA exemptions that would allow them to rip DVDs in order to show film clips in class. Despite opposition from Hollywood and a handful of consumer electronics companies, the exemption was granted. This means that professors and educators are now allowed to rip DVDs for educational purposes, though only under specific conditions (the professor in question must be part of a film or media studies department and the DVD in question must belong to that department's library).

 

Now even if you're not a film professor, I think there's still hope for amateur creators who use excerpts from DVDs in order to create new, noncommercial works for personal use. The DVD ripping/copy software and a proposed DVD-player that stores hundreds of copies of DVDs, was designed for business travelers, consumers with large movie libraries and for families with small children. Discs can easily get scratched or get peanut butter all over them or get misplaced. So, from the RealDVD's case, if the DVD ripping/copying software circumvents anti-copying encryption on DVDs, and it is covered under the Content Scramble System license it acquired from the DVD Copy Control Association, this situation should be changed to allow the public the lawful right to make backup copies of DVDs – even only one copy of DVD to be allowed.